Friday, May 7, 2010

New Frontiers in Literary Criticism

As part of my quest to make blogging pay something, I hereby introduce quick 'n' dirty book reviews complete with links.

When I go to the Scoville Memorial Library in Salisbury, Conn. I usually wander in the stacks without any real goal, hoping something will grab my attention.

(This is how I decided to re-read all the Robert Parker "Spenser" novels — and work in another Amazon link.)

This week's author is Jane Langton, a writer of detective fiction with a distinctive New England flair; featuring gumshoe/attorney (as opposed to white shoe lawyer) Homer Kelly.

I began my investigation into the Langton ouevre with Dark Nantucket Noon, published in 1975 and one of the earliest in the series.

A woman is murdered while watching a solar eclipse at a lighthouse on the ass end of Nantucket, and the prime suspect is a dizzy poetess. I have to say it didn't start out too well.

But once the Homer Kelly character is introduced and the rather inventive plot gets going, I found myself hearing familiar themes.

Familiar to a reporter on a small New England weekly, anyway — skulduggery in land use, malicious gossip, old money vs. new money vs. old-timer with no money.

I could have done without the lengthy quotations from the Old Testament and the poetry, though.

Still, I am looking forward to reading more of Homer Kelly's adventures.

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